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Thread: Buffalo Board of Ed May be disbanded!

  1. #1
    Member Linda_D's Avatar
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    Buffalo Board of Ed May be disbanded!

    Regents chancellor considers replacing Buffalo School Board

    Alleged improprieties, low test scores prompt alarm

    By Peter Simon NEWS STAFF REPORTER
    Updated: 04/22/08 8:00 AM

    Alarmed by low pupil test scores and recent allegations of wrongdoing in the Buffalo schools, the chancellor of the State Board of Regents is exploring the possibility of replacing all nine members of the Buffalo Board of Education.
    Chancellor Robert Bennett said allegations of improprieties at McKinley High School, Discovery School 67 and City Honors School — combined with poor academic performance — prompted him Monday to ask State Education Commissioner Richard P. Mills and department attorneys to spell out the range of interventions available to the Regents.
    Bennett said he is also disturbed by an ethics commission report concluding that at least one board member lied under oath about leaking confidential information to a newspaper reporter.
    "I’m guessing by the end of the week I should know something," Bennett said of his request for possible options.
    He said that Mills and the Regents will likely be "very deliberative" in dealing with the Buffalo Board of Education and that removing the board members "certainly isn’t our preference."
    But he said problems in the city schools appear to be so severe and widespread that he wants to know the Regents’ full range of options, from increased state assistance and oversight "all the way to removal [of the board]."
    "There are lot of issues here," Bennett told The Buffalo News. "They’re disturbing, to say the least."
    Bennett said his concerns center on:
    • Pupil tests scores and graduation rates that are far below local suburban districts and, in many cases, worse than other urban districts in the state.
    • Allegations of improprieties at McKinley, including a lengthy suspension of Jayvonna Kincannon and claims that students were given advance notice of an essay question on a Regents exam and that computer and video equipment "disappeared" from the school. The suspension and related issues are being explored by a special investigator, and the other claims are being reviewed by the school district with state oversight.
    • The claim of a teacher at Discovery School 67 that a teacher’s aide fondled an autistic kindergarten pupil in the school lavatory. Police and the boy’s parents weren’t notified until nearly four months later. District Attorney Frank J. Clark and the Buffalo police are investigating the alleged incident and the failure to notify authorities.
    • City Honors Principal Williams
    A. Kresse’s claim that a school administrator orchestrated a change in the school grading system that benefited his daughter and that board member Christopher Jacobs helped a former deputy county executive enroll his daughter at City Honors even though she did not meet the admissions requirements. Those charges have been referred to the state Education Department.
    • An opinion from the Board of Education’s ethics commission that at least one board member lied about leaking confidential information to The News. That case has been referred to the state attorney general.
    Bennett said that he has made his concerns clear in "bits and pieces" of broader conversations with Superintendent James A. Williams and that any formal actions would be preceded by discussions with board President Mary Ruth Kapsiak.
    Kapsiak did not return a call seeking comment.
    Bennett said the recent controversies appear to have taken the board’s focus away from improving student performance, which he described as by far the most crucial issue.
    Bennett said some of the allegations are so serious that — if found to be true — they would warrant the strongest possible action, including removal of the board.
    He pointed specifically to an allegation from a former teacher at McKinley that members of the basketball and football teams were placed in special-education classes so they could get assistance to keep their grades up and remain eligible to play sports.
    "I really hope that didn’t happen," Bennett said. "If it did, I would recommend the highest form of discipline."
    Bennett said his request to Mills centers on possible actions involving the Board of Education, which is the district’s governing body, and not Williams.
    "I’m not going there," he said of Williams, who is under contract through June 10, 2011.
    Buffalo Teachers Federation President Philip Rumore said action should be considered against Williams, not the board.
    "What has the board done that’s wrong, except trying to uncover things that the district has done, and is now doing its best to cover up?" he said. "It’s the wrong target completely."
    In 1995, the State Legislature, at Mills’ request, passed legislation that dismissed all the board members of the Roosevelt Union Free School District on Long Island. That move was prompted by a state Education Department report that cited dismal student performance, misappropriation of funds, poorly maintained buildings and weak internal controls.
    Education officials requested action by the State Legislature because of legal uncertainty over whether the education commissioner had the authority to remove an entire board of education, said Jay Worona, general counsel for the New York State Association of School Boards. It is clear, he said, that the commissioner can dismiss individual board members for just cause.
    http://www.buffalonews.com/home/story/328876.html

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    Member run4it's Avatar
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    Hypothetically, would they disolve the school board and let the same people be voted back in? Or would they forgo any election and appoint a new board, completely disenfranchising city residents?

    I agree with Rumore, by the way, that at least as much of an eye needs to be cast on Williams as on the school board (and most likely much more of an eye)
    But your being a dick
    ~Wnyresident

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    Member nickelcityhomes's Avatar
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    Why stop there? Dissolve all government education.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nickelcityhomes
    Why stop there? Dissolve all government education.
    Toss the idiots out of Albany.

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    Member leftWNYbecauseofBS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by run4it
    Hypothetically, would they disolve the school board and let the same people be voted back in? Or would they forgo any election and appoint a new board, completely disenfranchising city residents?

    I agree with Rumore, by the way, that at least as much of an eye needs to be cast on Williams as on the school board (and most likely much more of an eye)
    Even if this would be allowed, isn't it sad that it would be possible?

  6. #6
    Member run4it's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by leftWNYbecauseofBS
    Even if this would be allowed, isn't it sad that it would be possible?
    I'd vote for my rep again...unabashedly and unapologetically.
    But your being a dick
    ~Wnyresident

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    Member Bannister's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by run4it
    I agree with Rumore, by the way, that at least as much of an eye needs to be cast on Williams as on the school board (and most likely much more of an eye)
    Edited. I'll just say I agree.
    1 Corinthians 13:1 "If I speak in the languages of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal."

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    Member Curmudgeon's Avatar
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    Hypothetically, would they disolve the school board and let the same people be voted back in? Or would they forgo any election and appoint a new board, completely disenfranchising city residents?
    Like when Albany disenfranchised the citizens of Buffalo by appointing a Financial Control Board?

    Like budget deficits, education is a government activity that affects citizens who don't have a say in how the government is run. In the case of fiscal obligations, it's the taxpayers of NYS state who get handed the bill every year with no real input on how the money in Buffalo is being spent. In educations case, it's the children who don't have a vote who are being affected by people who do have a vote.

    When a local government starts doing damage to people who can't vote for that government, it's the state's obligation to step in and replace or render harmless that dysfunctional government. NYS did that with the Control Board and it might be necessary to do the same with the Board of Education.

    The state doesn't care if Buffalo neglects it's obligation to maintain its streets or any other function that doesn't substantially affect people who don't live in Buffalo. When the city fails in its obligations that affect the children or other NYS citizens, the state has the right to step in, as it has in the past.

    We shouldn't have to be subjected to a Tyranny of the Perpetually Stupid. That's what we get when the sheep enter the voting booth and look for the big D on the first line in the voting booth every first Tuesday in November.
    Data is not the plural of Anecdote.

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    Member Linda_D's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by run4it
    Hypothetically, would they disolve the school board and let the same people be voted back in? Or would they forgo any election and appoint a new board, completely disenfranchising city residents?

    I agree with Rumore, by the way, that at least as much of an eye needs to be cast on Williams as on the school board (and most likely much more of an eye)
    I think that this may be intended to get the school board to consider doing something about Williams. Since Williams was hired by the BOE, I think the state is reluctant to remove him outright. However, remember that Williams was given a raise and an extension less than a year into his first contract, and I think it might have been voted on just before the new BOE was sworn in(I'm not sure about that), which may lead State Ed to consider the BOE, as a group, irresponsible.

    It seems to me that Williams is doing the same kinds of things in Buffalo that got him fired in Akron (I think that was his previous stop), with lots of hype, favoritism, and politicking but only meagre results. I had hopes that Williams would offer a fresh approach but it seems he's primarily interested in solidifying his total control over the schools and lining his own pockets.

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    Quote Originally Posted by leftWNYbecauseofBS
    Even if this would be allowed, isn't it sad that it would be possible?
    or necessary
    First Amendment rights are like muscles, if you don't exercise them they will atrophy.

  11. #11
    Member Curmudgeon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by linda D
    I think that this may be intended to get the school board to consider doing something about Williams. Since Williams was hired by the BOE, I think the state is reluctant to remove him outright. However, remember that Williams was given a raise and an extension less than a year into his first contract, and I think it might have been voted on just before the new BOE was sworn in(I'm not sure about that), which may lead State Ed to consider the BOE, as a group, irresponsible.

    It seems to me that Williams is doing the same kinds of things in Buffalo that got him fired in Akron (I think that was his previous stop), with lots of hype, favoritism, and politicking but only meagre results. I had hopes that Williams would offer a fresh approach but it seems he's primarily interested in solidifying his total control over the schools and lining his own pockets.
    Linda - Clearly, if the Regents have the authority to remove ELECTED OFFICIALS FROM OFFICE, they have similar authority to remove appointed employees (Williams) from their positions. All the have to do is remove Williams and pay out the remainder of his contract. In fact, they wouldn't have to ask the BOE's permission at all on that action.

    If the Board of Regents says they are considering removing the BOE, then that's what they really intend to do.

    Quote Originally Posted by linda D
    I think that this may be intended to get the school board to consider doing something about Williams. Since Williams was hired by the BOE, I think the state is reluctant to remove him outright.
    Does it seem logical that in order to not appear to interfere with the BOE's operations regarding personnel assignments (Williams), they instead threaten to remove the BOE members themselves from their elected offices? Does that really make any sense at all?

    Your attempts at redirecting the Board of Regents ire at the BOE to Williams are laughable.
    Data is not the plural of Anecdote.

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    Member winfield31's Avatar
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    I don't believe there will be any "dis-banding" , however someone "may" be indicted.................I guess we'll just all have to stay-tuned 'til next week's episode............
    Nothing gold can stay...............

    www.onlinebuffalo.com

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    Member steven's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Linda_D
    but it seems he's primarily interested in solidifying his total control over the schools and lining his own pockets.
    How is he "linning his own pockets"?
    “if you’ve got health insurance, you can keep your doctor, you can keep your plan. Nobody is talking about taking that away from you.”
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    Member Linda_D's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by steven
    How is he "linning his own pockets"?
    I don't have the figures but they were published in the Buffalo News IIRC when he got the new contract. The increase, primarily in fringe benies I think, were significant, and raised eyebrows since the COB and the Control Board were fighting against giving city employees raises due in their contracts at the time.

    Williams' salary, BTW, is somewhere in the neighborhood of $200,000, which may be more than the mayor's.

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    Member Curmudgeon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by linda D
    Williams' salary, BTW, is somewhere in the neighborhood of $200,000, which may be more than the mayor's.
    Thanks for not responding to my earlier post. Also, there are several police officers that make more than the mayor. Truth is, his compensation is determined by the market and is competitive with comparable positions in comparable districts.

    At this point, I have to ask, what is your motivation for laying blame for the districts woes on a guy who's been on the job for a few years? Is it just because you're a union supporter and he has shown no love for the unions?

    Be honest.
    Data is not the plural of Anecdote.

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